TV Best Bets

Wednesday, Oct. 21: The Goldbergs Take an Adventure Inspired by ‘Airplane’!

ABC/Andrew Eccles

ALSO SEE: Your Full 2020 NFL Regular Season TV Schedule

All Times Eastern.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

The Goldbergs
ABC, 8pm
Season Premiere!

In “Airplane!,” Beverly surprises the family with an end-of-summer vacation to Miami with the flight down resembling the classic film Airplane! and Geoff accidentally spills to Erica the real reason for the trip. Then in a second new episode, “The Prettiest Boy in School,” now a senior, Adam returns to William Penn Academy as he wrestles with the fact that he is a cool kid and no longer a nerd while his original friend group isn’t as lucky. Meanwhile, Beverly attempts to have a more grownup relationship with Erica and Barry before they head back to college.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
Season Premiere!

TV legend David Letterman teams up with Dave Chappelle, Robert Downey Jr. and more for a third season of in-depth interviews and curiosity-fueled excursions.

Original Film!

This psychological thriller is based on Daphne du Maurier’s beloved 1938 gothic novel. After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo with handsome widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a newly married young woman (Lily James) arrives at Manderley, her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast. Naive and inexperienced, she begins to settle into the trappings of her new life but finds herself battling the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, the elegant and urbane Rebecca, whose haunting legacy is kept alive by Manderley’s sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas).

Children of a Lesser God
TCM, 8:15am
Catch a Classic!

This Oscar-winning 1986 drama is airing in conjunction with TCM’s Women Make Film documentary series. Director Randa Haines’ adaptation of Mark Medoff’s play was the first film directed by a woman to be nominated for Best Picture. It marked the film debut of Marlee Matlin, who became the youngest woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, at age 21, and remains the only deaf person to have won any Oscar. Matlin portrays a custodian at a school for the deaf, whose burgeoning romantic relationship with a hearing speech teacher (Best Actor Oscar nominee William Hurt) becomes rocky due to their differing thoughts on speech and deafness. The film also received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Piper Laurie) and Best Adapted Screenplay (which original playwright Medoff cowrote with Hesper Anderson).

Brother vs. Brother
HGTV, 8pm

“Behind the Battle: Drew” takes a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Drew’s corner chateau, featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews that give fans a brand-new perspective on how the game is really played. Then, the “Behind the Battle: Jonathan” gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jonathan’s house next door.

The Wall: “Jeremie and Nikki”
NBC, 8pm

The competition series moves to its new night with this episode, in which a couple with four kids from Ocala, Florida — Nikki, a patient service coordinator, and her husband, Jeremie, a deputy sheriff — take on The Wall.

Nature: “Pandas: Born to Be Wild”
PBS, 8pm

Unlock the mysteries of wild pandas whose counterparts in captivity are known for their gentle image. Journey through the steep Qinling Mountains with filmmakers, scientists and rangers to witness pandas’ startling courtship and aggression behaviors.

American Wild Seasons: “Spring”
Smithsonian Channel, 8pm

Follow bursts of wildflowers, buzzing hummingbirds, reptile romances and new births as we explore spring in America.

Paranormal Caught on Camera: “Alaskan Ice Monster, Screams From Beyond and More”
Travel Channel, 8pm

An Alaskan man gets the shock of a lifetime when he witnesses a creature in frozen waters; a marijuana dispensary is haunted by ghosts of the past; bone-chilling shrieks strike fear in a Colombian town; a military radar locks in on UFOs; and more.

The Conners
ABC, 9pm
Season Premiere!

In Season 3, Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky, D.J. and their friends and family will continue to grapple with parenthood, dating, financial pressures and aging in working-class America.

The Real Housewives of Orange County: “Tequila Truth Serum”
Bravo, 9pm

Braunwyn struggles with her identity and worries that her friends won’t stick around now that she’s not “fun” anymore. Gina reveals that she heard Braunwyn made fun of her “small house,” but it turns out she isn’t the only one making disparaging remarks. Gina also brings up the awkward text messages she had with Sean last year. When Emily calls Braunwyn to clarify, she refuses to discuss over the phone. Later, when rumors start to spread, Braunwyn is forced to reveal a secret to Shannon.

The CW, 9pm

When Jenny (Serinda Swan) and Donovan (Roger Cross) investigate the death of a lab technician, Jenny’s personal interest in the lab’s research risks getting in the way of the case. Confronted with tragedy, Liam (Éric Bruneau) reaches his breaking point. River (Kiley May) meets her new colleague.

American Ninja Warrior: “Semifinals 2”
NBC, 9pm

The competition series moves to its new time slot with the second and final round of the Semifinals, where competitors will face up to 10 brutal obstacles including the dizzying Corkscrew, the Salmon Ladder and the iconic Warped Wall. Notable competitors include Jessie Graff, Najee Richardson, Joe Moravsky and Meagan Martin.

NOVA: “Touching the Asteroid”
PBS, 9pm

If spacecraft OSIRIS-REx can grab a piece of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, scientists could gain great insight into our planet’s origins, and even how to defend against rogue asteroids. But NASA only gets three shots at collecting a sample.

ABC, 9:30pm
Season Premiere!

The season premiere episode takes us to the beginning of the global pandemic for the Johnsons. As a first responder, Bow receives her family’s praise for her work. Someone in the household is breaking the lockdown rules.

Paranormal: Captured: “Hell’s House”
Travel Channel, 10pm

Paranormal investigator Danny Moss investigates a haunted house in Middlesbrough, England. Rose grew up in the home, where she witnessed her first ghost at just 7 years old. Her husband, Kevin, was a nonbeliever when she first met him, but since staying at the house, he is a skeptic no longer. Back at the Paranormal: Captured headquarters, footage and stories from around the world are analyzed by the experts.

The Age of Nature: “Understanding”
PBS, 10pm

Explore how a new understanding of nature is helping us find surprising ways to fix it. From the Pacific Northwest to Yellowstone to Scotland, scientists, citizens and activists are restoring the environment, benefiting humans and animals alike.

Thursday, Oct. 22

Original Film!
In this Norwegian thriller, a starving family struggling in the wake of a nuclear disaster is lured by the offer of a meal to participate in a play at a hotel, where audience members begin to vanish.

New Series!

This four-part docuseries pays tribute to the leaders and unsung heroes of the early LGBTQ+ movement.

Roald Dahl’s The Witches
Feature Film Premiere!

Cowriter/director Robert Zemeckis’ reimagining of the classic tale originally brought to the big screen in a beloved 1990 Anjelica Huston-led feature film was itself meant for U.S. theatrical release until the pandemic scrapped those plans (it will be released to international theaters later this month). Zemeckis is joined by producers Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro and cowriter Kenya Barris for this family fantasy/adventure about a young boy who stumbles upon a secret coven of witches and, with the help of his loving grandmother, tries to stop their evil plan to turn the world’s children into mice. The cast includes Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth and Chris Rock, with newcomer Jahzir Bruno as the young hero.

Supernatural: “Drag Me Away (From You)”
The CW, 8pm

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are asked to investigate the murder of a childhood friend, calling them back to a motel from their past and perplexing the brothers with a case they thought was solved a long time ago.

Connecting…: “Day 78”
NBC, 8pm

With Memorial Day around the corner, Garret has planned a trip to Big Bear for the group. It will be the getaway they all need, as long as everyone can follow his strict safety guidelines.

The Killers
TCM, 8pm
Catch a Classic!

This 1964 thriller was the second feature film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic existential short story (the 1946 version starring Burt Lancaster may be more well-known). Hemingway’s tale has long been praised for the economy of its storytelling, and this film, too — courtesy of Gene L. Coon’s screenplay and Don Siegel’s direction — keeps propelling the action forward. Things begin when two hitmen (portrayed by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager) arrive at a school seeking a teacher (John Cassavetes), and things only intensify from there. The film is fairly brutal for its time, and anticipates some of the violent action Siegel would also later incorporate in films like Dirty Harry. The Killers was originally intended to be one of the first made-for-TV movies, but NBC deemed it too intense for television, and the film was released to theaters. Also starring Angie Dickinson, Ronald Reagan, Claude Akins and Norman Fell, it remains a noir crime classic on par with the Lancaster-led film.

Third Presidential Debate
Various Networks, 9pm Live

Kristen Welker of NBC News moderates the final preelection debate between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The event is scheduled to be held at Nashville’s Belmont University; as with the other debates, the pandemic could cause cancellation or a change in format.

Ghost Adventures: Screaming Room: “Haunted Kay’s Cross”
Travel Channel, 9pm

Zak Bagans and the guys revisit their investigation of Kay’s Hollow, a former monument plagued by malevolent ceremonies, spirits and otherworldly creatures.

The Killer Beside Me: “Schooled in Murder”
Investigation Discovery, 10pm
Season Finale!

In the Season 3 finale, a lunch break devolves into a nightmare for two school secretaries who disappear in broad daylight. One woman is found dead, launching an intense search for her missing friend. As police collect evidence, they suspect the culprit has ties to the school.

My Feet Are Killing Me: First Steps: “The Fungus Among Us”
TLC, 10:30pm

Dr. Brad sees a man whose toenails are so long he can tap dance with them, and Dr. Ebonie has a complicated case of webbed toes and strange bones. Dr. Sarah has a patient with toenails so bad that he uses a hedge clipper to trim them.

Friday, Oct. 23

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Amazon Prime Video
Original Film!

Sacha Baron Cohen is back in this mockumentary follow-up to his 2006 hit, again portraying Kazakhstani news reporter Borat Sagdiyev. Borat’s latest travels across America offer a satiric look into the nation’s culture and politics, and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the Rocks
Apple TV+
Original Film!

Rashida Jones, Bill Murray and Marlon Wayans star in Sofia Coppola’s generation-clash comedy about a father and daughter rediscovering their relationship.

Once Upon a Snowman
Original Film!

This short film reveals the previously untold origins of Olaf, the lovable snowman from the Frozen films. Josh Gad returns to voice Olaf.

Bad Hair
Original Film!

In this horror satire set in 1989, a young woman (Elle Lorraine) gets a hair weave that may have a mind of its own.

The Queen’s Gambit
New Series!

This limited drama series is based on the novel by Walter Tevis. It’s a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the male-dominated world of competitive chess.

Gold Rush
Discovery Channel, 8pm
Season Premiere!

The all-new season of Discovery’s hit reality series kicks off with a two-hour premiere tonight. Gold miners Parker Schnabel, Tony Beets and Rick Ness take massive gambles this year as they face the worst time crunch ever due to the gold fields opening two months late because of COVID-19. Joining the series this season is ex-special forces medic and greenhorn miner Fred Lewis, who takes his destiny into his own hands as he strikes out with a band of out-of-work veterans in the hopes of hitting it big in the gold fields of Oregon.

Christmas on Ice
Lifetime, 8pm
Original Film!

Courtney Bennett (Abigail Klein), a former U.S. figure skating hopeful, runs the city’s public skating rink, and when the mayor (Will Lyman) announces its closing, Courtney is heartbroken but determined to save it. After Courtney’s attempts to warm the mayor’s Scrooge-like heart fail, she enlists the help of Noah Tremblay (Ryan Cooper), a former professional hockey player and single dad, who owns the new indoor skating center, to help her, and together they find more than just the spirit of holidays on the ice.

Trapped by My Father’s Killer
LMN, 8pm
Original Film!

Five years after her testimony sent Louis (Craig Olejnik) to jail for the murders of her father and her fiancé, Diana (Lindy Booth) returns home to find that he has escaped from prison and has come to confront her. As he holds her captive, Louis tries to convince Diana that he is not guilty of the murders. Diana begins to question what she saw that night as well as her own testimony, while also starting to develop feelings for Louis. As she searches for answers, Diana must decide if Louis really is a cold-blooded killer out for revenge. Or did she send an innocent man to prison?

Fright Favorites: “Creature Features”
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!

Some of the creepiest cinematic creatures of all time star in tonight’s installment of Fright Favorites. Beginning the four-film lineup, you’ll thrill to one of Universal’s last great movie monsters, the Gill-man, in 1954’s iconic and influential Creature From the Black Lagoon. After that, a 28-year-old Steve McQueen portrays one of the teenagers on the run from an all-consuming intergalactic protoplasm in The Blob (1958). Next, William Castle’s gimmicky flick The Tingler (1959) focuses on monsters who feed off fear. The final feature is producer Howard Hawks’ 1951 classic The Thing From Another World, which — though it eschewed the shape-shifting nature of the alien invader featured in the original John W. Campbell novella Who Goes There? and in John Carpenter’s famed 1982 remake The Thing — still ramps up the terror and feelings of isolation faced by a scientific and military team trapped in the Arctic with a deadly extraterrestrial on the loose.

Selling the Big Easy: “The Garden Home vs. Acadian Manor”
HGTV, 9pm

A New Orleans couple with hectic schedules looks for a bigger home with plenty of outdoor space where they can relax after a long day. Later, Brittany and her team hope restaging a stale listing results in a quick sale.

American Masters: “Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is”
PBS, 9pm

Discover the Grammy-winning conductor, pianist and composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient and longtime music director of the San Francisco Symphony, he helped set the standard that an American orchestra should champion modern American music.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Citizen Kane
TCM, 5:45pm
Catch a Classic!

Orson Welles’ 1941 classic is regularly at, or very near, the top of many people’s list of greatest movies of all time, and watching it again (or for the first time) tonight, you will be reminded why. After nearly 80 years, the stunningly original innovation that Welles put into the film’s direction and camerawork, with the help of Oscar-nominated cinematographer Gregg Toland, helps it look like it could have been made in the modern era — it’s easy to forget it was produced in the early ’40s. It’s all the more impressive when you realize that Welles made this masterful, Best Picture Oscar-nominated film when he was only in his mid 20s. Along with directing (for which he received an Oscar nomination), producing and cowriting Citizen Kane (with Herman J. Mankiewicz; the duo won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay), Welles also stars in his Best Actor Oscar-nominated title role, a not-so-subtle dramatization of tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Welles leads an equally incredible cast that also includes Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane and more.

Jingle Bell Bride
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Original Film!

Wedding planner Jessica (Julie Gonzalo, Supergirl) is sent to a remote town in Alaska to find a rare flower for a client, and is charmed by the small town during Christmas, as well as the handsome botanist (Ronnie Rowe Jr., Star Trek: Discovery) helping her.

Christmas Unwrapped
Lifetime, 8pm
Original Film!

From executive producer Tiffany Haddish, Christmas Unwrapped follows Charity (Amber Stevens West), an ambitious reporter who learns the true meaning of Christmas when she investigates Erik Gallagher (Marco Grazzini), a beloved member of the town who insists all the gifts he provides are from none other than Santa himself. Cheryl Ladd also stars.

The Pom Pom Murders
LMN, 8pm
Original Film!

After making the L.A. Renegades pro basketball dance squad, Audrey (Anna Marie Dobbins) meets Walter (Jon Schaefer), one of the players, and they quickly fall for each other. But when Bailey (Grace Patterson), a fellow Renegade girl and Walter’s ex-girlfriend, is found dead, the police arrest Walter. Despite incriminating evidence, Audrey sets out to prove Walter’s innocence and soon realizes that her life is also in danger.

American Experience: “Freedom Summer”
PBS, 8pm

Revisit the hot and deadly summer of 1964, when student volunteers and local Black citizens faced racial violence in Mississippi while registering voters in an attempt to break the hold of segregation.

Christmas Tree Lane
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 9pm
Original Film!

Music store owner Meg (Alicia Witt) spearheads community efforts to save her street from demolition. Meg is shocked to find out that the man she’s falling for (Andrew Walker) is working for the company that she is fighting.

Ghost Nation: “911 Fear Factory”
Travel Channel, 9pm

Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango and Shari DeBenedetti head to Millville, New Jersey, to help desperate factory owners deal with paranormal events tormenting them and their workers. The owners hope to repurpose a former glass factory and bring jobs to the community, but claims of noises, voices, apparitions and even physical altercations have ground renovations to a halt. Just as the UPRO team is hot on the trail of what’s causing the activity, a medical emergency jeopardizes the entire investigation.

Eli Roth’s History of Horror: “Body Horror”
AMC, 10pm

Sometimes disgusting, but always powerful, body horror films make us question our prejudices against physical difference, our attitudes about sex and gender, our fear of disease and contamination, and how much our appearance determines who we are. Horror film director Eli Roth is ready to take it on in tonight’s new episode.

Destination Fear: “Saratoga County Homestead”
Travel Channel, 10pm

Dakota leads Chelsea, Tanner and Alex to a decaying sanitarium where some patients’ corpses were unclaimed due to a flu pandemic. Screams and darting shadows play mind games with the team as they struggle to pin the activity on the living or the dead.